On Sunday, the Niagara Police Athletic League held its annual awards dinner at the Sheraton Niagara Falls.
Local student athletes were honored as Athlete of the Year of their respective schools, while additional awards such as Comeback Player of the Year, the Mr. and Mrs. Alan Elia Scholarship, Bob Fink Sportsperson of the Year, Mark “Chief” Williams award, collegiate Athlete of the Year, the Board of Directors Awards, Athletic Advocate Award and Prep Athlete of the Year awards were all handed out.
Male and female high school athletes of the year were as follows (female followed by male winners):
Barker – Gabby Baker and Dominic Clementi; Grand Island – Alexa Chiarenza and Cam Sionko; Lewiston-Porter – Riley Crum (Overall Female Prep Athlete of the Year) and Joseph Powers; Lockport – Kourtney Krchniak and Malik Brooks (Overall Male Prep Athlete of the Year); Newfane – Kimberly Goerss and Tyre Casinelli; Niagara Falls – Samantha Campbell and Zak Meranto; Niagara-Wheatfield – Jenna Sonnenberg and Thomas Peltier; North Tonawanda – Laney Wieclaw and Matthew Monge; Royalton-Hartland – Madison Fry and Charlie Brigham; Starpoint – Julia Mascaro and Aaron Chase; and Wilson – Sarah Lewis and Steven Frerichs.
The Comeback Athlete of the Year was awarded to Lyndsay O’Brien of Kenmore East who recovered from knee injuries to play this season; and Robert Roetzer of Starpoint who fought through a shoulder injury before returning to play this season.
The Elia Scholarship was awarded to Julia Eichel of Grand Island and Colin Beach of North Tonawanda.
The Bob Fink Sportsperson of the Year was awarded to Tribune Editor David Yarger. Yarger was chosen for his exemplary support of high school and youth athletics through the media.
William Ploetz of Niagara-Wheatfield was honored with the Mark “Chief” Williams award for the time he’s spent with the N-W Falcons wrestling team, as well as Niagara-Wheatfield Amateur Athletics.
The Collegiate Athlete of the Year was won by Toni Polk, formerly of Niagara Falls, who now plays softball at Penn State. For the males, Chris Woodard, formerly of North Tonawanda was honored for his success on the football field at Wagner College.
The PAL Board of Directors Award was given to Niagara Falls wrestler Willy McDougald and Starpoint wrestler Anthony Robinson.
The Athletic Advocate of the Year was given to Bridget Niland, who is the director of youth sports initiatives at the Community Foundation for a Greater Buffalo.
Brooks and Crum were given the Prep Athlete’s of the Year to close the awards ceremony.
Some of the Prep Athletes of the Year pose for a group shot following the Niagara PAL awards dinner.
From left, David Yarger, Tribune editor; Thomas Peltier of Niagara-Wheatfield football, swimming and baseball; and William Ploetz coach with Niagara-Wheatfield Falcons wrestling and Niagara-Wheatfield Amateur Athletics pose following an awards ceremony at the Niagara PAL annual awards dinner.